Knowledge and Concern for Religion

This is the third article in a series dealing with parental education of children. It was taken from the  seminar: What Your Child Needs: A Parent’s Guide to Islamic Education.

Knowledge is a how-to guide towards what you want to do, otherwise. It is like sending a vegetarian person a whole bunch of steak recipes. If the children are not instilled with a concern for religion, they are not going to go right. You have to figure out how to win them over. 

It is conceivably possible for you as a parent to fulfill your responsibility without ever actually teaching them yourself. Or without even sending them to a teacher although typically it is needed. There needs to be some way of learning but the religious education of the child is a means to the bigger picture. You want to have an upright Muslim who loves Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and who wants to do the right thing.

Knowledge equips them to do the right thing. The most important knowledge they need is what is called personally obligatory knowledge. This is what they need: to be in a state of obedience to Allah. Then to know how to follow the prophetic example in all that they do. This is more important than learning the Quran. Strictly speaking, all they need to know about the Quran is how to recite it and what they need to pray.

The Need for Inspiration

Children need inspiration. They need a concern for good character, virtue, and the love of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). This needs to be a constant theme. When choosing Quran teachers, Sunday school programs, after-school programs, or Islamic schools, look at where there is a sense of the development of the child. The child will be inspired by such a teacher. Consider the relationship there that it will cultivate love of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) in their lives. 

If you instill love in the heart, then the child themselves will go towards the good. They will go towards Allah and towards what is pleasing to Allah. You have to convince someone to love because the notion of love has been stripped away. We pray because we believe in Allah, we pray because we know who we are and we have a clear sense of identity that we are servants of Allah. We pray because this is pleasing to Allah. 

Choosing a Teacher

Whom you choose as the teacher for your child is a key component. Will your child love Allah His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and will they love the religion by studying with them? 

Do not send them to anyone who will turn them away from religion, it would be better for them to keep them home and read with them with your broken recitation rather than send them to someone who will turn them away. The child will love it and you say may want to fix your broken recitation. 

Be judicious. Do not just look at a place that is close to your house, a place that has a good price, or a place where there is a discount. Choose on the basis of the quality

that they will instill love in your child. Be someone who wants them to have the quality of connecting out of love to Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and to the religion. That is at the heart of Islamic education.

This is how we connect them to learning the Quran. Arguably, once your child is six or seven, it is more important for them to recite the Quran daily than to go to Quran class twice a week. You want your child to have a living ongoing relationship with the Quran. 


Likewise, connect your children to the life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). One of the ways to do that is to instill a love of reading in them. Get them to read widely. But also, consistently have a connection to religious reading as well. Particularly around the life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

One of the best educational things you can do in life is to cultivate the capacity to focus in your child. Because everybody is distracted, one of the rare qualities in our times is the capacity to focus and to do deep work. One of the ways to cultivate focus which will serve your child in their worldly life, education, and religion is cultivating the love of reading. Buy books for them but also, let them go towards that.